The overall aim of the TransGang Mediation project is to produce a White Paper of recommendations for mediation practitioners and policy makers. Local researchers will be asked to recall any examples of conflict that emerged within or between the groups that they were studying and how they were resolved – providing data and documentation where possible. We have developed a broad working definition of “gang conflict mediation” to help us identify relevant practices from across the TransGang data set:
“an intervention into the relationships between (members of) gangs or youth street groups, or between (members of) one gang or youth street group and any other social actor or entity (e.g., the police or other state entity, local merchants or shopkeepers, members of the community or community associations etc.) conducted with the ultimate goal of preventing conflict”
Included within this definition are formal programmes of conflict mediation, as well as small-scale everyday activities such as a member of one group talking to a member of another to avoid conflict, or parents, teachers, relatives, or acquaintances of gang and youth street group members seeking to intervene to reduce emerging tensions. We hope that in the way we can capture the full spectrum of mediation practices, policies and programmes and the empirical ethics and political economic projects that underlie them.
The third phase will comprise the analysis of data. It is important to note that the different “logics” or “ethics” should be understood as polls around which different real like examples of gang conflict mediation can be plotted and understood. Put different, ethics of care, choice and mutuality are not strictly defined categories. Whilst limited, understandings of gang conflict and mediation that follow logics of choice are typical to the policy discourse on gangs, situating policies and practices in a broader political and socio-economic context, and by exploring examples of mediation that do not adhere to these neoliberal logics, the TransGang mediation White Pape project will develop a critical perspective on gang conflict mediation that will work as a corrective to a policy discourse that too often relies on normative assumptions about the nature of gang conflict and mediation.